Herat (Afghanistan), 07/10/2023.- People affected by an earthquake wait for relief in Herat, Afghanistan, 07 October 2023. At least 15 people have lost their lives, and scores sustained injuries following a series of seven earthquakes ranging from 4.7 to 6.3 magnitudes that struck the western Afghan province of Herat on 07 October 2023, Mula Janan Sayeq, disaster management spokesperson said. Afghanistan is situated in the Hindu Kush mountain range, a region with significant seismic activities and a common origin point for earthquakes in the surrounding areas, making it one of the countries most susceptible to natural disasters. (Terremoto/sismo, Afganistán) EFE/EPA/STRINGER

Afghan authorities confirm over a hundred dead after earthquakes

Kabul, Oct 7 (EFE). – Kabul, Oct 7 (EFE).- The authorities confirmed the death of at least 180 people and more than 600 injured as a result of the seven earthquakes of up to 6.3 degrees registered on Saturday in the district of Zinda Jan, in the western Afghan province of Herat.

“So far we have more than 180 martyrs in the hospital and more than 600 injured,” the director of the Herat regional hospital, Mohammad Arif Jalili, informed EFE.

The official added that the toll of victims could increase in the coming hours.

“People are under the collapsed houses, and maybe that is the number of deceased, different rescue teams are working there,” the press director of the Ministry of Disaster Management, Mula Janan Sayeq, told EFE.

People affected by an earthquake wait for relief in Herat, Afghanistan, 07 October 2023. EFE/EPA/STRINGER

The NGO Doctors Without Borders said it was supporting medical care at Herat’s regional hospital, “where more than 300 injured people have arrived,” according to a report on Twitter.

The organization added that it had set up 5 medical tents to accommodate up to 80 patients, while also supporting the emergency room with staff and medical supplies.

Afghanistan experienced at least seven earthquakes on Saturday. The first and largest occurred at 12:11 pm (+5:30 GMT) at a depth of 14 kilometers and 33 kilometers from the town of Zindah Jan in Herat province, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

Four consecutive aftershocks of magnitude 5.5, 4.7, 6.3, and 5.9 followed within an hour.

The fourth earthquake, also of magnitude 6.3, was recorded at a depth of about ten kilometers and at a distance of about 29 kilometers from Zindah Jan.

The USGS recorded two more shocks nearly an hour later in Herat province, 4.8 and 4.9, respectively.

Afghanistan is one of the most vulnerable countries to natural disasters because it is located in the Hindu Kush mountain range, a point of great seismic activity and a common point of origin for telluric movements in the region.

However, Afghanistan has a very vulnerable, mostly poor population, in addition to lacking sufficient infrastructure to deal with disasters such as floods or earthquakes.

In late June 2022, a similar 5.9-magnitude earthquake in Afghanistan’s eastern Paktika and Khost provinces, bordering Pakistan, killed more than a thousand people and injured about 1,500, in addition to destroying hundreds of homes.

Afghanistan also suffered one of its worst earthquake disasters in 1998 in the north of the country, when two earthquakes measuring 5.9 and 6 struck in February, killing some 4,000 people.

A few months later, at the end of May, another earthquake with a magnitude of 7 struck the area again, killing about 5,000 people. EFE